grace

Spotting the Subtle Symptoms of Pride

By: Brad Rogers

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A few weeks ago, Dr. Matt Newkirk, President of Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya, Japan, preached on the subjects of pride and humility from the book of Proverbs.  It reminded me of an article I read a few years back written by Fabienne Harford on subtle symptoms of pride.  While the symptoms of pride she writes about are, in fact, quite subtle, her article is sufficiently frank enough to filet my heart every time I revisit it. If this article unmasks pride you have not seen in yourself before, may I suggest that you read Philippians 2:1-11 after reading her article and remember that Jesus did indeed humble himself to take on human flesh in order that he might die for all of our sins - including our sins of pride. His response to our sinful pride is lavish grace, and it is his lavish grace that can soften the hardest of hearts allowing us to live with humbleness and grace towards others. You can find Fabienne’s article on subtle symptoms of pride here. I am pasting the words of Phil 2:1-11 below in case you need them like I do after having my pride brought to light.

 

Phil. 2:1-11 (ESV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Handling Disagreement with Grace

By: Brad Rogers

As a Christian, I think we who claim Christ as our Lord sometimes can get in our heads the very false notion that those of us who follow Jesus should never have differences with one another.  As if somehow Jesus promised us, that if we follow him, we would not ever sin against each other again, and we would all think the same way about everything.  The former won’t end until heaven and the latter would make us all boring people who never really grow.  I have oversimplified things with only these two possibilities, but Christians clearly will have strong differences with one another in this life just like everyone else.  So how do we maintain the deep and abiding unity God calls us to as Christians in the midst of our disagreements?  John Piper, while pastoring a large church, gave advice to his staff that displays the knowledge of a biblical scholar as well as the wisdom of a grace-filled, seasoned pastor as he humbly shares key principles to guide them in the midst of differences. Much of the wisdom he shares with his staff linked here is surely helpful both inside and outside the walls of the church. Read the article here.

Grace in the Midst of Depression & Anxiety

By: Brad Rogers

Depression and anxiety are formidable, if not crippling foes, which have ailed even the strongest of Christ’s followers throughout church history.  In this article, Nashville Pastor, Scott Sauls, writes about two gifted pastors who committed suicide while he was studying for the ministry and his confusion over how this could happen. 

Unfortunately, I have first-hand experience with such confusion.  The first pastor I had as a young adult took his own life not long after I graduated from seminary and had begun working as a college pastor while worshiping at the church he led. Ministering to others amidst my own hurt and disorientation was unnerving; and yet, as strange as it may sound, God met me in that darkness.  While I would have done anything to prevent what happened and wish it had never happened, God changed me and shaped me for ministry in important ways. 

Now, further along in life and ministry, Scott shares his own struggles with anxiety and depression and their impact.  He does so with the hopes that we all might see how “Afflicted does not mean ineffective” and “Damaged does not mean done.” These are good words from a pastor who has felt the pain and found grace and hope in the midst of it. To read the article, click here